Andrew Neil says claim he gave Brexit Secretary easy time in BBC interviews because they are drinking companions is 'simply untrue'

BBC journalists Andrew Neil and John Humphrys have both been accused of being “chums” with Brexit Secretary David Davis and so giving the Tory cabinet minister an easy ride in interviews.

The claims were leveled by former Daily Mail political editor James Chapman, also ex chief of staff to Davis, in a series of tweets published yesterday.

Targeting Today programme presenter Humphrys, Chapman said: “It is totally inappropriate for Humphrys to conduct Brexit interviews. Mail has to be prised out of his hands and he holidays with [David Davis].”

He added shortly after: “[David Davis] would never prep for @bbcradio4 as he knew Humphrys would do Brexit chums act then hector and interrupt @labour spokespeople #byebyejohn.”

Today editor Sarah Sands defended Humphrys in response to the tweet, saying the claim was “not true” and that “John has never been on holiday with David Davis”.

Chapman, who plans to create a new centrist political party opposed to Brexit having left the Department for Exiting the EU before June’s general election, also targeted BBC Two Daily Politics presenter Neil.

He tweeted: “[David Davis] was also relaxed about [Andrew Neil] as they drink (lots) together regularly and his producer Robbie Gibb is a deranged Brexiteer now at No10.”

Neil said the claims were “simply untrue”, adding: “Have dined with [David Davis] once in 10 years (you were there), lunched once in 10 years. NEVER had drinks with him in 20 years or more.”

A BBC source told Press Gazette: “After years of interrogating ministers, I’m not sure you’d find anyone who felt they had easy interview with either John Humphrys or Andrew Neil.”

Former head of BBC Westminster and editor of the Daily and Sunday Politics shows, Robbie Gibb, was named as the Prime Minister’s new director of communications last month.

Picture: BBC/Youtube

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